Still in Nanaimo for now

Still in Nanaimo for now
Elder Samis on the ferry

Monday, 23 February 2015

February 23, 2015 - Area 3: Campbell River

Area 3: Campbell River

It's back to the island! Elder Johnson and I got the call at 10:25 pm Monday night which informed me that I was being shipped to Campbell River, a small city of around 30,000 people. I was going to be placed with Elder Brisco who started his mission in Campbell River and has been there all 6 months of his mission so far. I wasn't expecting to be placed back on the island, but it's a darn cool thing that I did! The next day was filled with a lot of visits to members. I must say that leaving Clearbrook was a little harder then I expected. I could sense that the move would likely happen, but it was difficult saying goodbye to everyone.  

The next morning we drove to the Tswassen ferry terminal in which began a long long journey. The drive to the terminal took at least an hour and the ferry ride took another couple which was followed by another 2 and a half hour drive up from Nanaimo to Campbell River with Elder Brisco. It was indeed a weird feeling passing through my old area 6 months from the time I left it. 

What is there to report on the state of the teaching pool? Well, fortunately Elder Brisco and his previous companion, Elder Gawrys had been teaching and preparing a young woman named Linda for baptism on March 7th. She's 18 and her parents are from Vietnam. She was introduced to the church by her school friend, Victoria who's a member. She's been going to church and meeting with missionaries for a while now and she's loving it! She's been taught everything and we've been reviewing a few things with her but she is truly well prepared. It would take a serious trial for her to be unable to make the date.

There's been a few other people that have been going in and out of our teaching pool. Saturday we found a young Native man named Eugene and he set a time to meet with us later the same night. When we went back he ended up babysitting a bunch of his younger cousins so we could only talk for a few minutes. We invited him to church but he didn't show up.

Campbell River is indeed a beautiful place. It sits right along the eastern shore of Vancouver Island. You can see the mountains of the mainland across the ocean. The city is known as "Salmon Capital of the World" meaning there's a whole lot of fishers there. The weather has been very good for this time of year. There's also a couple of Islands just off the coast of the city, Quadra and Cortes. The only way you can get over to them is by crossing by ferry. Most people in town have come across the missionaries quite often and acknowledge what we do. A lot of them recognize Elder Brisco since he's been here so long. They generally seem to be very friendly and easy to get into long conversations with.

As for my new companion? He's from St. Louis, Missouri and has a very optimistic outlook on the work. He's always cheerful and loves everyone yet he is mature beyond his days as a missionary. So far its been a great companionship. Believe it or not, Campbell River has a ward in town! it's a small one, about 40-45 members show up on average. They travel from place to place a lot so it's hard to have everyone in the building at once. They seem fairly mission minded.

Our apartment is an upstairs attic suite in our Bishop's house. The house itself is in an isolated portion of a street on the south side of town surrounded by large trees giving it the appearance of an acreage. The best way I can describe the appearance of inside of our suite is the upper portion of a barn. It gets really cold in the mornings so we always have to bundle up well before going to bed.   

We've been living off of not much except perogies, eggs, and cereal. There's also pretty much no kilometers left on our car which means we've had to walk EVERYWHERE. This past Sunday after church we walked from our place for a long time. We came across a man from another faith who we walked and talked to for a good while. He invited into his home. Even though our conversation ended up not turning out productive, it was sure nice to sit down for an hour. Later that night when it started to get cold, we walked to a members house for dinner. My body ended up breaking out in chills and muscle aches. It felt like I was getting a fever. I woke up the next morning feeling a lot better. I figure that perhaps my body had been a bit shocked from being out in the damp cold for so long. It seems far damper here then in Abbotsford.    

So far it's been a decent transfer. There's been a lot to be excited about particularly Linda's baptism. We're the only set of missionaries for miles so that should make things pretty interesting. From the sounds of things, we will very seldom be going on exchanges. Well in the shortest possible way, that's how I can summarize the week. Enjoy the last week of February!

Elder Maclean Samis        

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

February 16, 2015 - Area 2: Clearbrook (Abbotsford)

How to Spend a Preparation Day


For the first time on my mission I had the chance to participate in a tourist attraction. Here's a shot at Cascade falls which we went to earlier today. Its about 20 mins outside of Mission and features a drawbridge that spans across a brook and past a waterfall. Later today we took a look at the West Minister Roman Catholic monastery that sits on a hill just outside of Mission. Unfortunately it was closed to the public for the day. Here's a view of the chapel: 

Now to begin the account of last week: Our friend Sonny who showed up at church last week has pretty much disappeared for the time being. When we called his home, a woman answered who told us that he was in India. Not sure why Sonny didn't tell us this before, but its just the way things are. 

Monday night we taught Theresa at the Taylor's place after we ate dinner. She hadn't read the Book of Mormon or remembered much about the lesson we taught her last week so we went over it all again. She wanted to come to church but she called us and sent us a voice mail. In a painfully scratchy voice she told us that she had a nasty case of bronchitis and wasn't able to make it. 

As for Faron, we taught him on Thursday when I exchanged with Elder Butler. It seemed difficult to stay on pace with the lesson and he talked a ton. He said that he would come to church but ended up backing out for some unknown reason last minute.

We taught James on Friday but he seemed to have trouble when we tried teaching him the Plan of Salvation. He's been taught everything at least several times but still doesn't want to get baptized. According to Elder Nielsen who taught him a while ago, he's just not ready right now.

Garry finally came to church again! We also taught Carol and both of them have been doing well. Garry is continuing to fit in the church quite well. He's back on track! 

Well with our teaching pool getting flushed down the drain yet again, a transfer is just around the corner. As always, I have no idea if I will be staying or going.  If a move occurs, I predict that I will be transferred somewhere in the interior. Perhaps a place with snow. Talk to you then!

Elder Maclean Samis   

Monday, 9 February 2015

February 9, 2015 - Area 2: Clearbrook (Abbotsford)

Counting Car Crashes

Its been a great week! There is much to talk about and little time. We taught Theresa the 1st lesson Monday evening and she's still willing to keep meeting with us. 

Wednesday, we taught a former named Erica with our good friend, Brother Newman. She's a little older then Elder Johnson and I and has always held to some kind of belief about God but isn't really sure what kind of purpose he gives us and why. Well, we've helped her find out by teaching her the first lesson and leaving her a Book of Mormon. She marveled at how little she knew about God, Jesus Christ and the prophets of the bible. She's excited for our next visit.   

Thursday we saw Garry who seems to be doing pretty well, but is also slipping away from attending church. He keeps on saying he wants to come but for some reason isn't. 

Friday we did a lot of hours of service. We helped Brother Gauthier move some stuff around in his garage since he's still recovering from back surgery. After that we went over to Brother Candia's and helped him cut down a tree in his front yard. Elder Johnson and I put a rope on the tree pulled on it as Brother Candia cut it down with a chain saw. Unfortunately, my pull wasn't strong enough and a stronger wind ended up causing it to fall directly onto the neighbors' driveway. No damage was done and luckily there wasn't any cars there! The tree was then sawed into pieces and we moved them from the neighbors' driveway and onto the Candias'

Saturday we got an unexpected call from Elder Rolfson (now an assistant to president Burt) and his companion Elder Hay. They wanted to come in and blitz exchange our area. It was a very happy reunion with Elder Rolfson and its been great knowing Elder Hay better. I had only met him once when I went to stay at the Burnaby Chinese Elder's place overnight for a transfer meeting. He says that his Chinese is already starting to leave him a little now that he's back in English work.

Anyhow, I split with Elder Rolfson after the 4 of us ate dinner at Subway. The plan was to go to visit Brother Bernaker (who lives in the same home as Brother Gauthier) and waite for our investigator Faron to meet us there but he never came. Perhaps it was a good thing too, because during our chat, the phone rang and Elder Johnson told us that him and Elder Hay got in a car accident. They were at fault. Nobody was hurt but the front assistants' car had been badly damaged. They somehow managed to drive the thing safely back to our apartment. We left and met them back there. They had called the president and he told them not to drive the car back to Richmond.   

Sunday morning while Elder Rolfson was backing OUR car out GUESS WHAT? Someone backed up, not paying any attention despite Elder Johnson screaming at the guy and hitting his car to stop and ran into our bumper, cracking it slightly. We couldn't believe it! 2 accidents involving 2 assistants in 2 days... Fortunately, Elder Rolfson had no fault in this one. Later that night we had a tow truck come and pick up the assistant's car. This has been the 3rd accident I've had to be a part of on my mission. 1 in Nanaimo, 2 in Clearbrook. Luckily the ones I have been involved in have not been our fault and not severe at all.    

Well, despite the car chaos, we did have a couple of huge miracles occur in church. Just before church started, we met a 24 year old man from one of the Protestant churches in town. His name is Sonny and he told us that a while back he found a Book of Mormon in a library and began reading it. He became fascinated with it and eventually decided to find out the location of our church in Abbotsford so he could attend a sacrament meeting. He didn't go to the other 2 blocks since he was busy with other personal matters but said that he really liked the meeting and he wants to have us teach him more about the church.  

The second miracle that day was the fact that one of the areas former investigators, who hasn't come to church long before I entered the area showed up! His name is James and he knows a ton about the church already since his mother is a member in Burnaby. There's a good chance that he'll get baptized soon! 

With the exception of having to deal with these accidents, it has been a very good week. I should note that according to Elder Rolfson, Elder Lamb is doing amazing in White Rock! He's baptizing someone in the area for the first time in well over a year this week! Have a great week everyone! 
Transfer calls are next Monday so stay tuned. 

Elder Maclean Samis  

Monday, 2 February 2015

February 2, 2015 - Area 2: Clearbrook (Abbotsford)

No Greater Joy Then That of Service

It's pleasing to report that perhaps we are going to find success in Clearbrook. Things began when we called Teresa on Wednesday to confirm her appointment. She told us that she was busy cleaning an apartment that belonged to one of her friend's who had moved away a few days earlier. We offered her some help and instead of having a lesson with her, we did some service! Teresa was indeed grateful and wants to meet with us again soon.

Wednesday we went to Garry's place and things seem to really be calming down now. His girlfriend is doing better and he says that he can turn his attention more to learning the gospel. I asked him if Carol has ever thought about learning with him. Must have been an inspired question, he told us that she did! She had been asking a few questions about what he's been learning during the days she was unstable. He told her that it was really not much different from what his church teaches. It seems like the 2 of them have been drawn really close to each other in this time of trouble. It's our hope that times like this will strengthen their relationship and they'll have a desire to get married! The only downside is that Garry has relapsed with the word of wisdom. This was pretty expected and we'll keep on praying for him. 

Friday night I went on every missionary's dream exchange! I went with Elder Petillot to Mission and we woke up the next morning thinking that it was going to be an ordinary day with nothing but personal finding. Turned out to be the opposite. Remember that member family I mentioned a couple weeks ago named the Herd's? Well, we helped them finish the last of their move by moving out a couple of loads of stuff to their new place and then scrubbed their floors.

We went home and ate lunch after, only to receive a call from another member requesting a helping hand. His name was Ron and he joined the church 4 years ago. One of the missionaries who baptized him was from Edmonton. Ron loves dogs enough to own 4 of them, 3 of them Siberian Huskys. We spent a lot of time replanting some trees in his yard. Then Elder Petillot fixed something on his roof. When our work was done, he took us out for dinner to one of his favorite restaurants. The pizza there was awesome! So was the freshly brewed rootbeer.

During this exchange Elder Johnson and Elder Butler managed to find success on their exchange. They taught our old buddy Chris who suddenly seems to have a bit more intent. Sara wasn't there but he told us that she had been wanting to meet with us when she could.

On top of these things, we're seeing more and more potential in our area. We're off to a great start to the new month with January beaten. The Lord appears to be rewarding us for staying strong and enduring. The transfer is already half over! Life sometimes just doesn't feel real! Hope everyone is having a great start to February. If not lighten up! Won't be long till spring comes now. Bye for now!  

Elder Maclean Samis